Volume 1, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


The nickname, “Ashbarrel” Smith, conferred by medical students, gives some indication of the salty character of the man, who won eminence as a military surgeon, pioneer practitioner, medical teacher and politician in Texas. In this little volume is republished his interesting contemporary account of a sharp outbreak of yellow fever in Galveston in the autumn of 1839. A graduate in medicine of Yale, Ashbel Smith had gone to Paris for the best available postgraduate training in clinical medicine and pathology. His skill in these branches of medicine is revealed by the careful clinical descriptions of yellow fever cases and the detailed notes on postmortem examinations reported. His observations during this epidemic convinced him that yellow fever is not contagious, but he got no idea of the true epidemiology of the disease.

Most of the account is devoted to clinical observations, to detailed descriptions of gross pathology, and to a discussion of therapy. At first his treatment was simple, but drastic.


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